Posts Tagged ‘red light cameras’

Scarecrows for speeders?

The town of Laurel, Maryland tries using fake traffic cameras. “Maryland law restricts most jurisdictions from putting speed cameras anywhere other than near schools, and they can only operate Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.” Other neighborhoods wanted cameras installed in hopes of reducing traffic speeds, so the town set up empty boxes. [DCist]

The drone debate and the traffic-camera debate

Why they overlap [Noah Kristula-Green, U.S. News]

P.S. There was a flurry of national coverage last week when Cincinnati-area judge Robert Ruehlman struck down a traffic camera ordinance in the village of Elmwood Park, declaring the cameras a “scam” and “high-tech game of three-card monte.” [Cincinnati.com] Readers with long memories may recall that Judge Ruehlman appeared to favorable advantage in these columns back in 1999 when he threw out the city of Cincinnati’s abusive lawsuit against gun manufacturers, trade associations and a distributor, the first of the municipal gun suits to reach trial on the merits.

P.P.S. Why police drones aren’t the same thing privacy-wise as police helicopters [ACLU via HuffPo via Amy Alkon](& Bainbridge)

Baltimore judge: county’s traffic-cam contract pays unlawful bounties

“A Circuit Court judge has ruled that Baltimore County’s contract with its speed camera vendor is illegal, because it pays the company a cut of each citation issued…. Maryland law says that ‘if a contractor operates a speed camera system on behalf of a local jurisdiction, the contractor’s fee may not be contingent on the number of citations issued or paid.’ But several jurisdictions, including Baltimore County and Baltimore City, pay their vendors a cut of each ticket, arguing that the jurisdiction, not the company, operates the cameras.” Judge Susan Souder ruled that Xerox State and Local Solutions, which currently “receives about $19 from every $40 ticket,” is indeed involved in the operation of the cameras. Del. Michael Smigiel, an Eastern Shore Republican, has introduced a bill to repeal the camera program: “We specifically said we’re not going to allow this to happen, and it happened,” he said. [Baltimore Sun, auto-plays video]

Police and prosecution roundup

  • Why you should discount many “minor offender faces eleventy-billion-year sentence” stories [Popehat] One day of smurfing made her a “career offender” [Sullivan]
  • “In Dog We Trust”: Scott Greenfield and Radley Balko dissent from unanimous SCOTUS verdict on police canines [Simple Justice, Huffington Post]
  • Arizona lawmaker would make it felony to impersonate someone on social media [Citizen Media Law]
  • “Can juries tame prosecutors gone wild?” [Leon Neyfakh, Boston Globe “Ideas”]
  • “Cop exposes D.C. speed camera racket” [Radley Balko] How Rockville, Md. squeezes drivers who stop in front of the white line or do rolling right turns [WTOP]
  • After scandal: “Pennsylvania Senate Passes Legislation to Eliminate Philadelphia Traffic Court” [Legal Intelligencer, earlier]
  • Bloomberg precursor? When Mayor LaGuardia got NYC to ban pinball [Sullivan]

“Bred more disrespect for the law than respect”

San Diego mayor Bob Filner says the city will discontinue its use of traffic cameras now that a contract is expiring. The cameras, which often resulted in $500 fines levied on tourists, produced $1.9 million in gross revenue in fiscal 2011, but the city was left with only $200,000 of that “after paying the officers who issued the tickets, a camera vendor and other costs.” [Union-Tribune]

Police and prosecution roundup

  • Forensics scandal keeps widening, as FBI agents trained state and local examiners in faulty methods [WaPo, Radley Balko] New York Times wades into case of Mississippi pathologist Steven Hayne [Reason] “Massachusetts Lab Scandal Leads to Fears of the Guilty Being Freed, Not So Much About the Innocent Being Jailed” [Shackford]
  • “Speed camera reform gains momentum with Maryland lawmakers” [Washington Examiner, editorial, WBAL]
  • “Gas masks, helmets for state alcohol-control agents — Everyone is a law-enforcement agent these days” [Steven Greenhut/PSI]
  • How the media hatched the “bath salts face-chewer” tale [Sullum]
  • “FBI investigating Utah state trooper for arresting sober people, charging them with DUI, lying on witness stand.” [@radleybalko summarizing Salt Lake City Tribune]
  • Looking forward to 2013 docket in white-collar crime [Peter Henning, NYT DealBook]
  • Bruce Green (Fordham), “Prosecutors and Professional Regulation” [SSRN via White Collar Crime Prof]

N.J.: Red light ticket camera class action

“The expected amount left over for affected motorists is just $6” and if motorists don’t file a claim, reversions go to defendant American Traffic Solutions (ATS). “More than 81,000 citations worth $10.2 million were issued in New Jersey through red light camera programs that were not in compliance with state law.” Lawyers who filed the suit are in line to collect $800,000. [The Newspaper; AnnMarie McDonald, NJLRA]

Prosecution and police roundup

  • “The Cash Machine: How the Philly D.A. seizes millions in alleged crime money — whether there’s been a crime or not.” [Isaiah Thompson, Philadelphia City Paper via Alkon] Jacob Sullum on the Motel Caswell forfeiture case [syndicated, earlier]
  • Online symposium on Brandon Garrett’s Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong [Co-Op]
  • Victims of Detroit police raid on art gallery nightclub get some justice [Ferndale 115]
  • John Baker on mens rea and “strict liability” crimes [Fed Soc, PDF]
  • Radley Balko has moved his Agitator blog to Huffington Post. And (via @normative) Cato’s Police Misconduct project is tweeting at @NPMRP.
  • Want to cross-examine someone on that traffic-camera ticket? Be prepared to pay travel costs for the camera company person [Scott Greenfield] “The mission creep of rape shield law” [same]
  • “Does the Criminalization of Tort Inhibit Safety Investigation?” [Beth Haas, Faculty Lounge]

September 17 roundup

  • Montana considers “corporations aren’t people” ballot measure with all the expectable flaws plus some others; vainly presumes to instruct state’s delegation to Congress [Bainbridge, more]
  • Dutch phone book publisher claims that “Cancel my Dutch phone book” website infringes its trademark [24 Oranges]
  • The problem with Section 5 (preclearance) provision of the Voting Rights Act, cont’d [Ilya Shapiro; SCOTUSBlog symposium with Shapiro, Abigail Thernstrom and others]
  • D.C. bans a bar’s jape at Marion Barry: “The Government Commission on Acceptable Satire” [Julian Sanchez, Cato]
  • Inquiry cost seen at £100m over alleged UK troop brutality in Iraq; defense lawyers say charges trumped up [Telegraph]
  • Banning outdoor tobacco use: “Obama administration to push for eliminating smoking on college campuses” [Caroline May, Daily Caller]
  • “And so it has come to this: Cameras that monitor speed cameras.” [Mike Rosenwald, WaPo; Prince George’s County, Md.]